An Important Case Settled.

Larceny of a Rooster the Bone of Contention.

Hill Vs. Barrett.

Justice never sleeps. It is not always however that justice is meted out in such deserved measure as it was on Tuesday evening in Village Hall, when an intelligent jury not only convicted the prisoner, but found the judge and clerk of the court guilty as well. It was a memorable scene and a laughable one—full of fun as an egg is of meat. The majesty of this law was upheld. Innocence went free and guilt received its just deserts.

The Mock Court Trial, under the auspices of Geo. K. Bird Post, was a most successful affair. The Drumhead Court opened at eight o’clock, when the complainant, defendant, witnesses, and jurors were all present, with a large number of spectators who crowded the courtroom eager to see the scales of justice evenly balanced, evil punished, while virtue received its reward. There sat the Judge, Sumner Bagley, grave, wise and solemn; the clerk of the court, John J. Geary, a young man of Websterian phrases, active, bright, and attentive to duties; Warren E. Rhoads, the well-known police officer, who covered himself with glory (or mud) in arresting the prisoner; C. B. Perry, attorney for the prosecution, and A. V. Newton, attorney for defendant.

The first case on the docket was Bill Gay, who was charged with “over-exertion”. Through counsel ho pleaded guilty and threw himself on the mercy of the court. It was the first time he had ever exerted himself, and it would be the last.

Henry B. Baker, a well-known citizen, was the next case. He was charged with eating all the oysters in the church festival slew. His counsel argued that the charge was invalid, as not more than one oyster had over been discovered in a church stow. The indictment was quashed.

John C. Lane, charged with selling one pint of whiskey to N. L. Sheldon, was the next case. Through counsel, he pleaded guilty, and as he always took his light asked for a light sentence. The judge sentenced him to be chairman of the Democratic town committee for one year. Counsel pleaded that the sentence be imprisonment for life, but the judge was inexorable.

The absorbing case, however, was the next one, in which Henry W. Barrett was charged with the larceny of a Plymouth Rock rooster. The clerk read the indictment, and it was an amusing document C. B. Perry, counsel for defendant, entered a plea of not guilty, as the prisoner was underage.

The impaneling of the jury was most ludicrous. Such distinguished gentlemen as Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and others were called to sit upon the case. The following citizens served:— Wm. Gay, foreman, C. B. Dexter, Alvin Fuller, J. E. Dupee, Chas. Rogers, Orrin Leach, John C. Currier, Chas. Morse, A. A. Hall, Wm. Foreman, B. F. Parker, J. F. Barney.

The interrogation of the jurors was amusing, especially the question asked Juror Rogers, “How many scruples make a drachm?” It was promptly answered, “Three swallows.” Counsel wanted to know where he could get a dram of three swallows in Norwood. (Great merriment.)

The jurors wore sworn in by the clerk of the court. The case was opened for the prosecution and the witnesses examined. This was the most amusing and interesting part of the trial. Rev. George Hill testified to his ownership of the rooster, and told his story of the bird being stolen on Christmas Eve by the prisoner. It was a laughable affair. He got in a few local hits, the best one being his reading an article in a contemporary sheet on the Gillin case, by Lawyer Sheldon, and falling asleep over it. He got off a good retort on the judge when asked how he identified the rooster, he said it was by its long-hooked spurs. The judge said he had one exactly like it, whereupon Mr, Hill said, “That is not the first rooster I have lost.”

J. C. Holway was the next witness. He described the preparation for a cockfight in a well-known citizen’s barn and told how he was going home and saw the prisoner with the fowl in a bag. His cross-examination was funny, the lawyer asking him if he was the only “J” in the family. Dean Stanley Swift was the next witness. He made a capital witness, having his part well., “a policeman with a pull,”’ testified to his being at the “private entertainment” In the barn aforementioned, and to arresting the prisoner. Here the case rested for the prosecution.

For the defense the prisoner, Henry Willie Barrett, testified. He was a wholesale grocer, ami« he distributed his cards among the spectators in good style. Ho testified that Hill was a “down-right crank,” and to his knowledge spent a portion of each week in Dedham jail. Ho said he owned the rooster called “Mahomet,” but his testimony was somewhat conflicting, much to the chagrin of his counsel.

Willie F. Bateman testified as an expert on monomania, a graduate from the Keeley Institute. He said that Rev. Geo. Hill was a monomaniac on the subject of Plymouth Rock hens.

Morris A. Leahy, otherwise known as Reuben Mucilage Glue, testified as a medical expert, having examined the complainant’s head by the X-Ray process, and found on his brain the picture of a Plymouth Rock rooster.

Elam Frederick Fletcher’s testimony was more for the çomplaitant than défendant.

Joseph L. McManus made a laughable witness, saying that Rev. Mr. Hill had “wheels in his head,” as the Literary Club to which he belonged had a series of articles on “The Hub and Several Spokes,” some of which settled in tho gentleman’s head.

The address of Col. Newton to the Jury was a perfect tornado of eloquence. He complimented the jurors on their personal beauty and intelligence. He lauded Henry W. Barrett to the skies, pointed the finger of scorn at the witnesses, and for ten minutes almost woke the dead.

C. B. Perry, in a few quiet words, submitted the case as his learned opponent had,—without making any argument at all.

The judge delivered his charge in a few weighty words. As the hour was late the jury were instructed to return the verdict without leaving their seats. They did so, finding the prisoner guilty, the judge guilty, and the clerk of the court guilty. The sentences were as follows:

That Henry Barrett bo obliged to read the Norwood Messenger for one year and subscribe to the Advertiser and Review for six years.

That Sumner Bagley be obliged to drink West Dedham cider mid eat bologna sausage all the rest of his natural life.

That J. J. Geary be sentenced to five years hard labor on the Norwood Park.

The court adjourned at 10 o’clock. The rooster was loaned by C. B. Dexter. It is a fine bird, and by its cackling evidently enjoyed the proceedings as much as some of those present among the spectators.

(All articles were originally published in the Norwood Messenger unless otherwise noted)